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Wendy Williams’ Radio to TV Jump Not Doin’ So Good

Updated below.

Not all radio personalities translate well to TV — just ask Howard Stern — and Wendy Williams charitably got off to a rocky start with her new syndicated daytime series.

Bringing “The Wendy Williams Show” to TV as inexpensively as possible, the series featured Williams discussing “hot topics,” which actually made “The View” look intellectually demanding; interviewing one guest (well, not really interviewing; more like kibbitzing with), Vanessa Williams; and bantering with her studio audience, including an “Ask Wendy” segment.

To say the show was poorly produced would be the height of understatement. Williams seldom seemed to know what segment they were doing next or how long it was running. She rushed through some things and lingered on others. She read notes off the table next to her — fine on radio, perhaps, but awkward on television. And she kept repeating her catch phrase, “How you doin’?,” until you wondered what Dr. Phil was up to.

One can see how all this would play significantly better on radio for an audience clued in to Williams’ shtick, making catty comments about celebrities and dispensing advice like a motherly gal pal. As is, though, it’s a pretty narrow property that will have to get by entirely on Williams’ larger-than-life personality. By that measure Williams has some potential as a host, but she’s a long way from being a TV-ready talent — and her producers didn’t help her much with the transition on Monday.

So in response to the whole “How you doin?” thing, actually, I was doin’ considerably better once the hour was over. Now could you please stop asking?

 “Wendy Williams Show,” Day 2 Update: OK, watched the second episode, and the first-day jitters excuse won’t fly. Tuesday’s hour was markedly worse, with a deadly dull “Hot Topics,” one guest (Brooke Burke), and nearly the entire second half-hour devoted to “Ask Wendy” banter with the audience. WIlliams still can’t find the camera half the time, and she’s not much of an interviewer. The producers had better come up with some other regular bits for Williams quick, because at this point, the personal-injury attorney commercials are more entertaining. Then again, after the front-loaded opening, ads account for about half of the show. Now if they could just think of something to do with the other half.

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